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San Diegans fear delay in unemployment checks as city leaders prepare vote on economic relief plan

The California Employment Department said it's adjusting to record high levels of claims.

SAN DIEGO — Coronavirus-related closures have spared no occupation from restaurant to childcare to factory workers.

“I applied for unemployment and still haven't heard anything from them,” said Jose Villalpando, who shipped goods for a Carlsbad sporting goods warehouse.

Like hundreds of thousands of Californians, Villalpando is anxiously waiting on his first unemployment check.

“I’ve been checking the mail everyday just to see whether I’m going to get anything,” he said.

The California Employment Department said it's adjusting to record high levels of claims, and even with the governor waiving the waiting period for accruing benefits, checks could take weeks to arrive.

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“I mean right now it's a tsunami of claim activity. So we're looking at a number of different ways in which we can streamline processing,” said EDD Spokeswoman Loree Levy.

“It’s scary because we still have our rent to pay,” said Villalpando.

On Wednesday, the City of San Diego is expected to follow the county's lead in passing a moratorium on evictions, in addition to a $4 million emergency loan fund for struggling businesses.

“We’re optimistic that it will get better but it's going be a rough go for some period of time,” said Peter Callstrom, CEO of San Diego Workforce-Partnership.

According to the latest report from the San Diego Workforce-Partnership, 350,000 workers in San Diego County face unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And as applications for benefits skyrocket across the country, all eyes are on Congress to reach a deal on a stimulus package which would approve direct cash payments to those families suddenly struggling just to survive.

“Just giving the people hope that they're actually going to get a check or something,” said Villalpando.

San Diegans can visit the San Diego Workforce-Partnership website for more resources. 

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